Drought May Boost Price of Christmas Trees

The southeastern drought could mean Christmas trees are more expensive. That's not because of fewer trees. They're not going to die. Rather, tree farmers have had to spend a lot more money keeping them healthy in such dry conditions.

Here's another chapter in the history of the Department of Water and Power. That's the ominously named Los Angeles agency featured in the movie Chinatown. The department that keeps millions of people supplied with water wants people to use less of it. It's reactivating a program called "Drought Busters." Employees will patrol the Los Angeles, looking for people watering the lawn too much, or spraying the sidewalk. They'll get some advice on how to cut down on watering. The top water official warns, though, that this friendly approach may not be enough. Mandatory conservation could be coming.

And as dry as some parts of the U.S. may be, Australia is drier. The southern continent has suffered drought for a decade. And water is so short that it's affecting brewers. Companies, including Foster's, have slashed the amount of water they need for the brewing process. That puts them in good position, because officials in one Australian state have ordered all businesses to cut water use by 25 percent.

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